Consumer ethnocentric behavior and food choices in developing countries: The case of Nigeria

November 6, 2020 - Valerie Kilders, Vincenzia Caputo, Lenis Saweda O. Liverpool-Tasie

Kilders, V, Caputo, V. and Liverpool-Tasie, L.S.O.(2020). Consumer ethnocentric behavior and food choices in developing countries: The case of Nigeria. Food Policy.


With rising incomes and urbanization, diets across Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) have diversified in source and form, encompassing more processed and packaged foods. While previous studies have identified ethnocentrism to be an influencing factor of purchase behavior, so far, no study has evaluated consumer ethnocentrism for food products in Nigeria. We conducted a study involving 2250 Nigerian consumers, using a widely validated consumer ethnocentric tendencies scale (CETSCALE). We aimed to answer the following questions: i) Are Nigerian consumers ethnocentric and how does this vary by socio-demographics? ii) Does consumer ethnocentrism affect their purchase frequency of imported food products? iii) What roles do country image and relatedly food safety concerns play in food purchasing behavior of imported food? We find that consumer ethnocentrism is indeed established in Nigeria among a large share of consumers. It is driven by key factors such as country image and food safety, and it tends to be strongly affected by socio-demographics such as income and education. We also find that ethnocentrism’s influence on purchase behavior varies across food categories. Our findings suggest that COO-labelling and a reliable formalization of product traceability with the support of the government could allow marketers to better capitalize on consumer ethnocentrism.


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